In September 1962 - on the same weekend that Kerry won the minor and senior All-Irelands (Fr Tom reminds me) - a 17-year-old Tom Looney from Killarney walked through the doors of St Patrick's College in Maynooth, totally unaware that 58 years later and he would forge so many lasting friendships with parishioners.
Canon Tom turned 75 earlier this year, and last weekend he announced his retirement, immediately setting off a series of heartfelt tributes from across the county.
Fr Tom - as he is better known - is Parish Priest in Fossa since 2015, and someone who one might describe as 'Kerry through and through' having served in the Diocese of Kerry for four decades.
A recognised scholar, historian and author, Fr Tom's love for Kerry's rich history and sacred Gaelic football tradition is widely known - passions that remain a guiding force in his life to the present day.
"It's hanging up the boots, I suppose. I can always imagine what it's like for players playing for their club or county and having to hang up the boots. It's a bit like that," Fr Tom said of his retirement.
In 1969 - on the same weekend that Kerry won the All-Ireland final (Fr Tom reminds me) - he commenced a decade of service overseas beginning as emigrant chaplain at Pobal Dé in Wembley, North London. Ironically, Fr Tom's replacement at Pobal Dé in 1975 was his good friend, the late Fr Michael Fleming.
After North London, Fr Tom started out on his six-year stint in Trujillo, Peru, with the Cork missions.
"It was Fr Michael who actually set up a mission box in the parish hall in Pobal Dé. That money was a great help to us in the shanty town where I was working in Peru for years," Fr Tom says.
Fr Tom has successfully met cancer head-on twice in his lifetime, the most recent battle being in 2019.
"Thank God that went well for me with a lot of help from the people of the parish of Fossa and my pal Fr John Ahern, who covered for me. The staff and the nurses in the Bon Secours Hospital were also great to me."
He's proud of what he calls the 'buckets of memories' from his time as a priest. But it's the interaction between 'parishioner and place' that has endured the most. While in Kerry he served in the four cardinal points of the Diocese - north, south, east and west.
"I spent 16 years in north Kerry between Ardfert-Kilmoyley and Tralee; I was in Tuosist for four years, which I loved as well. I had great years in Corca Dhuibhne in Dingle, and the Gaeltacht; I was in East Kerry, in Kilcummin, for eight years and, latterly, in Fossa, where I received the most beautiful Jubilee celebration a few years ago from the people. I've been really lucky in my appointments, thank God," Fr Tom says.
"To all the people who inspired me, encouraged me and accompanied me since 1962, they're the people that made me and kept me going. There have been ups and downs along the way, and yet these people have prayed for me along the way, and still keep me in their prayers.
"It was always uplifting to get that encouraging word and smile; to the people who have put food on my table and clothes on my back, I will never forget those people."